TEHERAN, Iran — A bomb exploded at a military parade in northwestern Iran on Wednesday, killing 12 spectators in an attack that one official blamed on Kurdish separatists who have fought Iranian forces in the area for decades.
The blast in the city of Mahabad, close to the borders with Iraq and Turkey, also wounded 75 people, Iranian media reports said. Most of the victims were women and children, said provincial Governor Vahid Jalalzadeh, who was quoted in a report by Iran's state broadcasting company.
Iranian forces in the border zone have clashed for years with Kurdish rebels from the Iranian wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party, which also has fighters based in Turkey and Iraq. The group in Iran has generally not targeted civilians in its campaign for greater rights for the Kurdish minority, raising the prospect that the bomb might have gone off prematurely.
A state radio report said the device was detonated on a timer and had been placed under a bush near the parade route. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
But Jalalzadeh told state TV the explosion was carried out by "counterrevolutionaries," a reference to the Kurdish separatist group. He called the bombing "a terrorist incident" and claimed it had the backing of foreign governments.
"This move has a foreign root. The U.S. and its allies are present in the region," he said.
Britain's foreign minister condemned Wednesday's attack. "This horrific bombing underlines the need to stand together against terrorism wherever it rears its head," Alistair Burt said in a written statement.